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How to Organize Books Without a Bookshelf

August 18, 2022

Apartment Living


Too many books and not enough shelving? Believe it or not, the average American reads around 12 books per year. Most of us keep many of those books in case we want to loan them out or read them again. Over the span of a lifetime, that collection can get fairly large.




If you can’t find room on the shelf – or room for a library bookcase – it may be time to look into other book organization ideas. Here are three creative ways to store your collection that don’t require a bookshelf or shelving of any kind. You might even be able to combine them all to store your books all over the house.

Decorate With Books

Books stacked in pattern

If you’re looking for a creative way to display your books, try decorating with them. They make great additions to coffee tables, bureaus, hutches, and dressers. Arrange them by color, size, or genre to create a visually appealing display. 




You can also use bookends or plants to add height and interest to your arrangement. Just make sure not to block the view of your TV. For an even more dramatic effect, pair your bookshelf-less coffee table with a couple of large floor pillows on either side. Add some candles and an area rug to complete the look. 




Need another unconventional idea? How about inside your fireplace? During summer months, when it’s not in use – or inside an unworking fireplace year-round – a fireplace is an excellent place for a display of books. Stack some on top of one another, use bookends to set some upright, or place your nice baskets filled with books inside the opening. 

Use Storage Containers

Stacked books

If you’d rather keep your stacks of books out of sight but want to know how to organize books safely at the same time, plastic storage containers are a great option. These come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find one that fits your needs. Use a container to store books on your desk, in your closet, or even under your bed. 




If you want easy access to your books, place the storage containers at eye level so it’s easy to grab the one you need. Label each book organizer with what type of books it contains. That way, you can find what you want quickly.




Your book containers don’t have to be plastic. You can find tons of other options, such as decorated boxes, chests, and baskets at your local home or hobby store. These make lovely decor pieces filled with books, accompanied by a cozy blanket and pillow. If you’re limited on space, find containers that will slide under couches and beds.

Store Books in Closets

Closets are great for storing things out of sight. This can be especially helpful when it comes to books. If you have a small closet, consider using some of the space to store your books. You can put them on shelves, in boxes, or even in bags. Make sure your containers are labeled so you can find your books easily when you need them. 




In addition to finding creative ways to store your books, you might find a clever spot to put a book cabinet. For example, the same extra space in your hall closet may fit a low bookshelf. You might even look for used bookshelves you can cut in half to squeeze into smaller spaces.

Use Excess Floor Space

Excess floor space along walls, underneath floor lamps, or beside your couch can be utilized to stack your books. This may sound messy, but you’ll probably find that it’s actually a nice, cozy look for most rooms. Make sure they’re not piled too high, though, or you’ll end up with an avalanche whenever someone enters the room. We’re merely suggesting you add a few piles of books, not an entire wall of books.

Make Shelves Out of Window Sills

One creative way to store books is to create bookshelves out of your larger window sills. One of these can make an amazingly cute bookshelf. You can fill the entire length of the sill with books, stack a few on top of each other, or use bookends to keep a couple in place.

Make Use of Vertical Space

Old books stacked together

When was the last time you used those cabinets above your refrigerator? Many people think that the items they can store are limited just because a space is in a kitchen or bathroom. Who says?




If you’re an avid reader who wants to hang on to all your prized possessions, look for free space wherever you can find it. Another unused space is on top of the entertainment center or armoire. Get creative, even if you have to look for hidden space. You might find that you have more space than you thought and can turn an unused area into an excellent book cabinet.

You Don’t Need as Much Space as You Think

Many people overestimate the amount of storage and space they need when all they require is a little creativity. But no matter the size of the space you’re looking for, Ovation Properties has you covered. Contact us today for a tour of your favorite properties.

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